…in our new elevator! It’s been a long time coming, but as you’ve probably heard by now, we have signed the construction agreement and will be breaking ground this spring. Epiphany’s elevator will “allow all of God’s beloved, not just the able-bodied, to participate fully in the life of our parish.” *
While a fully-accessible campus has been a vision of Epiphany’s leaders for decades, it is finally happening thanks to those families who donated to our Together Now (2012) and Together Again (2015) capital campaigns, to the Vestry who contributed funds from two of our designated funds, and to generous families who have pledged over the past few months in the quiet phase of our current campaign. And not to be forgotten, the dedicated volunteers who have devoted countless hours to this vision over the years. Just some of the improvements we have made to date include the attractive ramp to the front of the church, the new accessible entrance to Hadley Hall from Church Street, and the power door to an ADA-compliant bathroom. We are in the home stretch now.
Some of you may be thinking, I get all of these improvements so far, but why do we need to invest in an elevator? The reason is to enable us to truly integrate and welcome everyone into our parish life, regardless of physical ability. Our Parish is thriving. Our programming has expanded and we are currently using the Upper Parish Hall almost every week as a gathering space after church. However, these programs are primarily aimed at young families (because of the stairs), and it divides our community. Our current ability to fully occupy that beautiful space is limited, and any activities that are held there automatically exclude a good percentage of us.
Going forward, the elevator will enable us to use our Upper Parish Hall for more multi-generational and parish-wide events (remember the Boar’s Head Feast and junior choir plays?). It will be helpful for choir members who regularly use this space. It will facilitate transporting food from the kitchen to provide hospitality for our activities and will make the space more attractive for outside rentals. And the elevator is not for just the second floor. We can more easily move items up from the basement for rummage and the fair, fully utilize the basement rooms for committee meetings, make another set of bathrooms available to all, and help participants in weekly parent groups get their strollers downstairs. The elevator will make it seamless to travel around the building, and clearly demonstrate that we value the participation of every member of our church.
In a forward-thinking move, Epiphany’s leaders decided to combine this final push to complete the elevator with the establishment of a new designated fund that will also provide for future large-scale property needs. This January the Vestry approved the Together Forever Property Fund along with a short fundraising campaign with a goal of $150,000. This campaign will top off the funding needed to complete the elevator ($70K) and seed our new Together Forever Property Fund ($80K). Thereafter, the fund will provide an object for planned giving and a funding base for future capital projects such as the master landscaping plan or a possible renovation of the Upper Parish Hall.
On a personal note, I can say how grateful I am that the ramp to the sanctuary was completed before my husband Rick was confined to a wheelchair. It made it easy for us to walk through the front door of our church every Sunday. We felt at home, and not like an inconvenience. I am eager for the day when everyone in our Parish family feels similarly welcome throughout our entire building.
“…for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.” Isaiah 56:7
Chair, Elevator Fundraising Steering Committee
If you would like to learn more or contribute to the Together Forever Property Fund, please click here. To learn more about Epiphany’s progress over the years toward becoming a fully accessible campus, please click here.
*from Epiphany’s Accessibility Master Plan (2013)